Benetton Treviso registered its first Top 16 win of the season in Group G by beating visiting Prokom Trefl Sopot 89-75 at home in Treviso, Italy on Thursday night. Benetton improved to 1-1 in Group G and ties with Efes Pilsen for the second spot in the group, at least until they meet in Week 3. Prokom dropped to 0-2 but still has to play 3 games at home in Sopot, Poland, where it has been unbeaten in the Euroleague since late November. Marcus Goree led the winners with 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting. Ramunas Siskauskas added 17, Matteo Soragna 14 and Marlon Garnett 11 for Benetton. Goran Jagodnik led Prokom with 28 points, 24 of them in an outstanding second half. Adam Wojcik added 21 points for the guests, who tied the game at 70-70 with 7 minutes to go but couldn't sustain their rally as Goree and Soragna took over with 13 points in a mamooth 17-2 run that sealed the outcome.
Both teams started slow, with short possessions that often ended in three-point attempts. Goree of Benetton and Darius Maskoulinas of Prokom fired in one apiece from downtown for the only baskets in the opening 3 minutes. Tomas Pacesas fed Wojcik for a layup to give Prokom a 3-5 edge, but it didn't last long. Marconato nailed a mid-range jumper and Siskauskas buried 2 triples to force the first timeout of the game at 11-5. Marconato made a layup to cap a 10-0 Benetton run, but the guests found a go-to guy in Jagodnik. He followed Wojcik's three with a layup, and added free throws to bring Prokom within 15-12. David Bluthenthal came off the bench and immediately fired in a triple, then fed Marconato to extend the lead to 20-14. Wojcik stepped up with a basket-plus-free throw, but Garnett beat the buzzer with a triple to make it 23-17 after 10 minutes in which four Benetton players had already scored from downtown.
Prokom's defense excelled to start the second quarter, holding Benetton scoreless for 2 minutes while Mariusz Bacik shot the guests to within 23-19. Goree took over when it mattered, scoring twice in a 6-0 run that Siskauskas capped with a pull-up jumper for a 29-19 Benetton advantage. Istvan Nemeth tried to change things with a three-pointer for Prokom, but Garnett and Siskauskas combined for 5 free throws to make it 34-23. Radojevic came to the rescue with a dunk which ignited a 0-6 run which Desmon Farmer capped with a three to cut Prokom's deficit to 34-29 after 17 minutes. Aleksandar Radojevic became a factor under the boards for Prokom, but Bulleri finished the half strong for Benetton, with free throws and a mid-range jumper that secured the hosts a 43-36 edge going into the locker room.
Benetton left no room for a Prokom comeback early in the third quarter, as Siskauskas and Marconato fired in back-to-back jumpers and Goree a big triple to boost the lead to 51-40. Jagodnik answered with a triple off the dribble, and even when Goree scored in the paint, Prokom caught fire now. Wojcik made a second-chance layup, while Jagodnik fought to grab a loose ball and score a jumper to make it 53-47. Garnett slashed to the basket for a three-point play for Benetton, but Prokom had its go-to guy in Jagodnik, who nailed 2 more triples and a basket-plus-foul to keep his team within 3 points, 61-58. After a Benetton timeout, Goree continued working well in the low post while Soragna added a wide open triple, but Wojcik followed a close-in basket with his own triple to keep Prokom within 67-63 after 30 minutes.
Soragna got Benetton going with a layup to start the last quarter, but the red-hot Jagodnik immediately answered from downtown. When Maskoliunas and Mark Miller added consecutive running layups, Prokom had a 0-7 run and a 70-70 tie. Goree came to the rescue for Benetton with a long two-pointer, a two-handed dunk and a big blocked shot which led to Soragna hitting a triple for a 77-70 Benetton edge. Jagodnik - who else? - made a jumper from the right wing, but noone could stop Goree tonight. Soragna followed him with free throws and a turnaround jumper, while Bluthenthal added a breakaway dunk which sealed the outcome with less than 3 minutes to go. Benetton's strong defense paid off once it managed to slow Jagodnik, as Siskauskas capped a mamooth 17-2 run with free throws for an 87-72 lead that sealed a well-deserved first Top 16 victory for the hosts.
Thursday, March 3, 2005